By Jackson Riley
There is no shortage of Wizard of Oz entertainment in the Windy City, currently home to two productions of The Wiz, with the national tour of Wicked prepping its return. Emerald City recently wrapped its first season on NBC. Phillip Klapperich's adaptation of The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz returns after twelve years, and the main drawback to this fun and colorful production is Klapperich's basic, unimaginative attempt at updating a classic. We've had hundreds of Oz adaptations through the years - why present a show in which the audience sees every beat ahead of time, and already knows every moment?
Due to popular demand, Random Acts and Greenhouse Theater Center are pleased to announce a five-week extension of the sell-out world premiere STRANGEST THINGS! THE MUSICAL by Bryan Renaud and Emily Schmidt and directed by Tommy Rivera-Vega. The runaway hit based on the popular Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things, currently running through April 1, will now play through May 13, 2017 at Greenhouse Theater Center (Downstairs Mainstage), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets for all performances are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.
Citadel Theatre’s 2016-17 season concludes with Christopher Durang’s Tony Award®-winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Durang’s comedy, an updating and mash-up of characters, plot devices and themes from Chekhov’s four major plays, won the Tony for Best Production of a Play in the 2013 Tony Awards. Replacing the traditional Chekhovian country estate is the play’s setting in a Bucks County, Pennsylvania farmhouse, complete with a cherry orchard of sorts. Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia, named for characters from Chekhov plays by their late professor parents, are living in the family home now owned by their actress sister Masha, who pays the bills. Like Chekhov’s “Uncle” Vanya and Sonia, Durang’s brother and sister characters live a rather colorless, static life out in the country. When Masha arrives with her latest lover, a much younger and handsome, though dimwitted, actor Spike, conflict begins. Later another interloper arrives – the young actress Nina, who attracts Spike’s interest and incites jealousy in Masha. The show runs April 28 – May 28, 2017 at Citadel’s West Campus Theatre at 300 S Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. The Press Opening is Friday, April 28 at 8:00pm.
Set one hundred years ago in Paris, The Radiant centers on the true, tempestuous, and love-torn life of Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie. Widowed at thirty-nine, with two young children to raise and support, she becomes involved in a scandalous affair with her young married assistant, an affair which rocks Paris and nearly costs her her career - and her life. But, she survives this and the great bias against women scientists throughout Europe then and goes on to discover and isolate radium, earn two Nobel Prizes, and revolutionize the world of science forever, ushering in “The Atomic Age” and the first cure for cancer.
The Other Theatre Company (TOTC) announces the Chicago premiere of Threesome, written by Yussef El Guindi and direction by Jason Gerace, April 14 - May 21 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Previews are Friday, April 14, Saturday, April 15, Thursday, April 20, Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. Opening day is Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. The performance is 85 minutes with no intermission. The regular performance schedule, April 27 - May 21, is Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets for previews are $25 and for the regular run $30. Tickets are on sale now at theothertheatrecompany.com.
By Wesley James
The Most Happy Fella follows an aging Italian American vintner who catfishes a teenaged waitress via snail mail but she marries and falls in love with him (in that order) anyway. There are a few forgettable subplots and a point of conflict where the young girl is cast out for being pregnant – but it’s okay! He comes to forgive her.
This show was put on about as well as it could have been, and that is the best that can be said. The Most Happy Fella is a story that was antiquated before it was turned into a paceless, exhausting musical, and it is surreal and confounding that it’s still being told.
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Casting has been announced for The Liar, David Ives’s “translaptation” of Pierre Corneille’s 1643 farce of the same name, according to Ed Rutherford, the Promethean Theatre Ensemble artistic associate who is directing the production. The title character, Dorante, a charming young man who cannot tell the truth, will be played by Josh Hambrock. Dorante’s love interest Clarice (who he believes to be named Lucrece, the name of her friend who will be played by Katherine Schwartz) will be played by ensemble member Meghann Tabor.
By Leigh Austin
Having no knowledge going into Circle Theatre’s production of Venus in Fur of the play’s plot, I was more than pleasantly surprised to witness the outcome of David Ives’ empowering, feminist show. From the initial, tame setup to the thundering ending, Ives’ play and Circle Theatre’s presentation highlighted inherent biases about sexuality and gender and reveled in tearing them down.
CHICAGO – Artemisia, a Chicago theatre, is proud to announce the world premiere of Visiting, by Ed Proudfoot and directed by Carrie Lee Patterson, April 14 – May 7, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. The opening night is Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $25 and are available at ArtemisiaTheatre.org or by calling 312.725.3780. Group and VIP Passes* are also available.
Featured as one of six plays in Artemisia’s 2015 Fall Festival, Visiting, was the undisputed audience favorite and chosen to receive a full production. Visiting is an unflinching exploration of the impact of bipolar disorder on four generations of women and the life-affirming discoveries a young woman makes about herself and her future.